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A Quick Reference for Writing Lab Reports by R. Irish, Language across the Curriculum, University of Toronto Abstract summarizes the report to help a reader decide if he/she needs to read the rest. Must have: May include: Restrictions: 1. Purpose of the experiment 1. Brief method ONE page 2. Key result(s) 2. Brief theory 200 words MAX. 3. Major point of discussion 4. Major conclusion Introduction prepares the reader to understand the whole experiment. Must Have: May include: 1. Clearly stated purpose of the 1. Description of specialized equipment experiment 2. Justification of experiment's 2. Important background and/or theory importance Methods & Materials can be lists or even "refer to lab manual" where appropriate. Procedure describes ACTUAL process, especially changes from planned method. Results are usually dominated by graphics, but number and title tables and graphs correctly and clearly draw attention to key points in tables or graphs with a sentence provide sample calculation only state key result in sentence form Discussion includes two aspects: 1. Analysis = explanation of what can be clearly understood from results 2. Interpretation = logical deductions from analysis, explanations of ambiguities. Conclusion states what is known as a result of the experiment. Must do: May do: 1. State what's known 3. State significance of findings 2. Justify that statement 4. Suggest further research References lists any sources you used outside of you lab book, including web pages, books, periodicals, and even thoughtful discussions with other scientists.
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